Coughing fit sees player quit Australian Open qualifying

Tanya Simon
January 14, 2020

"I was really scared that I would collapse", Jakupovic told Australian Associated Press. I actually like heat.

"It's not healthy for us", she added.

The umpire said the conditions were behind the call to stop play after nearly two and a half hours. "I was surprised, I thought we would not be playing today but we don't have much choice".

Later on Tuesday qualifying was delayed because of the poor air quality.

Maria Sharapova's exhibition match in Kooyong was called off due to smoke from the devastating bushfires.

Russian Sharapova's match with Germany's Laura Siegemund was called off with Siegemend leading 7-6, 5-5 after both players complained to the chair umpire.

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The world No. 180 was forced to retire midmatch at Melbourne Park on Tuesday due to the hazardous smoke lingering from bushfires in the east of the state of Victoria. Thousands of global visitors and Australian tennis fans will also throng to the area.

Organizers said further decisions on match scheduling would be made using onsite data and in close consultation with its medical team, the Bureau of Meteorology, and scientists from the Environmental Protection Agency in Victoria state.

Up-to-date information can be found on the EPA's AirWatch website, which gives overall air-quality ratings, as well as the current PM2.5 level, referring to the concentration of pollutants with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (about three per cent of a human hair) in the air.

Tennis isn't the only sport being halted by bushfire smoke, Australia's elite rowers who are training for the Olympics have fled to Tasmania to escape poor air quality in Penrith and Canberra.

TA chief operating officer Tom Larner said any smoke stoppages would be treated in the same way as an extreme heat or rain delay.

Australian Open men's champion Novak Djokovic expressed concern earlier this month that bushfire smoke might cause some health problems for players.

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